July 16, 2021 Subject:
Good SF Detective Story
"Needle" features an alien detective who pursues his quarry to Earth in 1949. Both of them are evolved from viruses and normally live inside the bodies of larger creatures with whom they have a symbiotic relationship. They come down in the lagoon of a Pacific island, and the "Hunter" takes up residence in the body of a teenage boy. After an initial hiccup due to his host getting sent to boarding school, they return to the island and the hunt gets under way. The hunter has by now revealed his existence to the boy, who, once he gets over the shock, co-operates in this venture.
There are of course a few doubtful points. In particular, the school seems remarkably quick to send him home, and even odder, his parents show little concern or even curiosity about his unscheduled return, merely enrolling him in the local school without comment. The only explanation that springs to mind is that they (especially perhaps his highly risk-averse father) had been uneasy from the start about sending him away, and are privately more glad than sorry at what has happened. But this is pure speculation - we aren't told so. And his friends (would they really be close friends if they saw him only two months out of the year?) also show only the most passing interest in the matter.
Perhaps I shouldn't make too much of this. After all the whole school episode is mainly a plot device to keep the Hunter "out of play" until the Quarry has had a chance to get himself well-concealed. It's not central to the story. But even so it could perhaps have done with a little more work.
The teenager also seems remarkably unconcerned about having a being inside him who can observe everything he does - which at his age could include some quite embarrassing things. And the ending is a bit daft. Why allow himself to be punished when they are all together at the Doctor's surgery - and the Doctor is in on the secret? Bob's story could be proved to his father just as easily as it was to the doc. However, I suspect this was meant to be a little bit tongue in cheek, so it doesn't really bother me.
In short, it's a nice easy read if you're into either sf or detective fiction. Enjoy.
July 20, 2019 Subject:
Text needs a lot of work
This review only applies to the epub that I checked out. There are numerous errors associated with the OCR process needing attention.